Let’s face it, even if you wrote the most brilliant blog post, it won’t be read unless someone clicks a link to open it. And what typically catches the reader’s attention? Of course, it’s the blog title.

The importance of blog titles in grabbing interest is common sense for all forms of writing, but it’s even more vital online. Social media, email, and website links rarely feature more than the title and maybe the first line(s) and a thumbnail picture. So now that we’ve established that you need awesome titles to get your brilliant blog posts read, here are 5 easy and effective ways to produce strong headlines:

1.       Brainstorm a List of Alternates – Titles evolve as the writing process leads you think of better words or phrasing. As you write, keep a list of alternate titles even if they are only slightly different from one another. Often the best titles coalesce from pieces of different ideas, such as words from one and phrasing from another.

2.       Keep Short and Fresh – You aren’t writing a thesis; keep the title short (about 10 words maximum). Use numerals regardless of the amount they represent instead of spelling out numbers; this means writing “5” instead of “five” to reduce character length. Pull up that thesaurus (“Shift+F7” in MS Word) to switch up wording so that your post titles are adequately varied—regular readers won’t be able to distinguish among them otherwise.

3.       Careful Word Placement – The most relevant and impactful words should be placed as close to the beginning of the title as possible. They are the first to be read, so have them register immediately. If someone is scanning Google and sees a link to your post, you only have milliseconds before their eyes move on.

4.       Avoid Trickery – Your goal is to be perceived as the expert in your field. Your business needs to be established as trustworthy. However, the opportunity to build that company image in your audience’s minds is destroyed by misleading titles. Yes, you want to lure them in—but is there any point if they’re going to roll their eyes and leave the page once they see that the real topic isn’t what they expected?

5.       Use numbered lists – Numbered lists in blog posts work. Research shows that blog titles that began with a number perform 45 percent better than the average. Another approach is to start with a keyword and include a number later in the title.

It’s not hard to create strong blog titles. Give these tips a try and track how your click and/or comment numbers change. These trends may reveal keywords that are particularly effective in drawing in your target audience.

For more helpful marketing tips and information on effective marketing strategies for your business, go to www.lookingglassmarketing.com or visit the Marketing Know-How blog.